Going Solo

Why in the heck would anyone want to hike solo??

Isn’t it dangerous? Yeah, it kinda is. Wouldn’t it be lonely? Yeah but that’s kinda the point. Isn’t this just a mid-life crises now that the big four-oh is looming? Possibly…more on that later.

Well, let me tell you a little story them maybe you’ll understand why…

Something awakened in me over summer. Images of the snow-covered crags, dales and moors surrounding my home town in the Peak District National Park, UK, filled my news feed and I devoured them. I took refuge from the 40 degree Australian heat in the cold alluring scenes. A desire was stirring. I wanted to go there and walk those places. But it was more than that. I have lived in Australia for most of my life but had spent my formative early teen years in the UK.  My fondest memories of it were of going on long walks through the hills with my father. Upon returning to Australia this is what I had missed the most.  So these images tugged at the heartstrings. This was my home, and it was beautiful! And I wanted to go back.

A scene from my local area.  From http://www.roaches.org.uk/
A scene from my local area.
From http://www.roaches.org.uk/

Which left me with a problem. I’m married with two young children who are Aussies through and through. There was no way I could uproot my family and drag them halfway across the world to live l in a cold dreary country that has seemingly replaced all of its beach sand with pebbles. Yet try as I might I couldn’t get the feeling of homesickness to go away and I finally decided that I would need to walk the country and be done with it.  My father had once told me of the Pennine way so I figured this was the walk I needed to do in order to get this feeling out of my system. I started researching the route and considering gear. I’ve walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, I could surely do this! I was going to make this happen!

Of course it wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t take such young kids along on such a trek and it would not have been fair on them to leave them for three weeks while my wife and I enjoyed ourselves on the other side of the world. Yes I have family in England that I could leave them with, but it would be just wrong to dump the kids on them and run. The kids would never forgive us.

Dead end.

Not quite! Alongside all of this recent yearning had been a longstanding desired to check out Jindabyne near the Snowy Mountains. I had even considered moving there but job opportunities seemed lacking. I soon came to realize that I had shifted my gaze to this area precisely because, from a temperature and vista point of view, it was as close to my old home as I could find in Australia. I didn’t take too long to put two and two together and decide to walk this region instead!

Where am I now?

After much research I have decided to walk the Main Range circuit from Guthega as shown on the Wild Walks website http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/kosciuszko-np-south/main-range-circuit-from-guthega.html. This is a four day walk that provides both challenge and grandeur. The challenge will be met through adequate training and preparation. Upcoming posts will outline my training regime and gear choice and testing. I’ve also chosen a few other destinations for the future.

What about the mid-life crises?

Yeah. I’m about to turn forty. I see my Dad wanting to return to UK and do some walking but his legs are weaker than they once were so he will only be able to do some very limited walks. He’s old and although the will is there, the physical ability is starting to wane. I don’t want to get to that point. If I want to walk, I should start right now! Why wait? If I don’t make room in my life for it then I’ll be 70 and unable to do the more challenging stuff. So yeah, there is definitely an element of mid-life crises here, but what is a mid-life crises other than a renewed energy to do the things you’ve always wanted to do?

Why Solo?

Well, I don’t actually always want to go solo. I’ve rather go walking with my wife. We walked the Inca trail together and strolled around Wadi Rum in Jordan together. We should do everything together. I want the kids along. But it’s just not possible. And in the end this is all about meeting this need within myself to experience the beauty of my home without permanently leaving the best country in the world. But whether I’m with someone or trekking alone I am doing this for myself. I need the challenge. I need the focus. I need the solitude. I need the beauty. I need the grandeur. I need the experience.

I need to go.



12 thoughts on “Going Solo

  1. Awesome! I have an autistic three-year-old who cannot be left with other people, so my husband is gracious and takes care of him while I hike (though I try to stick mostly to day hikes while he’s this young). I feel it is EXTREMELY important to do what you can now, while you have the health. I became disabled in my early thirties with an autoimmune disease that’s destroying my joints. While I still hike and adventure, I can’t physically do the adventures I most want to do. Seize the day while you can…it’s not a midlife crisis, it’s common sense! Good luck on your journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. Life does like to throw challenges at us doesn’t it? Yes we have to deal with those challenges but I do think it is ok to take control and set ourselves some personal challenges in order to provide that sense of achievement. Sometimes it should be about us!!
      Thanks for sharing your story- this is why I started this blog, to hear such stories. I’m glad to hear you are able to get out on a good day walk. It’s good to have a supportive partner.
      Good luck on your own journey.


  2. You are so right- there is no time like the present to start doing the things we really want to do. It sounds like we have the same taste in the outdoors, so I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great outlook – I’m looking forward to reading about your training, and hike. I too need the solitude, beauty and grandeur. I’m only a few years older than you, and I don’t want to wait either. I’m presently doing the training I need to go on longer hikes.

    Now is the time. Let’s do this; you on your continent, me on mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you on the solo experiences (and turning to them in mid-life!). My kids and partner have a slow start to their Saturday mornings, and by the time they are bored with minecraft/having their third cup of tea, I’m back having paddled 15 or 20k and having had my magic nature moments. I almost never see other women out on the water on their own, though, which is pretty interesting and makes me feel very lucky! Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s a good start to the morning! Out walking I often see women jogging the trails on their own and usually some older women who live near the trail out for a walk. It’s good to see folks just doing it.
      We are moving to Berowra this week so I’ve started the great north walk. I’ve just finished the Sydney to Thornleigh section- symbolic of the move north. I’ll write it up soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good luck with the move – you won’t regret it. You can walk straight out of your back door into the bush here – fantastic place to live. Almost worth the pain of the moving house experience!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like you’ve made up your mind. Get prepared physically and mentally; consider the ‘what if’ contingencies, review/learn basic wilderness first aid… and just do it! I’ve hiked solo many times in lower 48 of US, Alaska and in Alberta/BC. I’d rather hike with friends, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out… don’t let that stop you. I’m 70… age is just a number, or so they say. Don’t take life for granted. Do it while you can do it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying! I’m actually looking at booking into the wilderness first aid course this year. Having fun though – The Great North Walk is something that keeps me going and I’m working my way along it It by bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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